Few of us get an opportunity to better something we may have done before. Fewer have the guts to take that opportunity. And rarer still are those who create that opportunity for themselves. With Prometheus, director Ridley Scott gives himself that opportunity, returning to familiar territory.
In the end of the 21st century, after discovering signs that lead to the origin of man in another planet, a private corporation sends the ship Prometheus to investigate. In an alien, hostile planet, they discover a place that is almost like a sanctuary with its own atmosphere.
However, in that place loom both the secrets to the origin of man and a horror that could lead to our end.
As you watch the film unfold, you get the creepy feeling that you have seen it before; the plot, the story, the space ship, the creatures. As the story progresses, so does the sense of deja vu. Till the very last scene, screams out the word that was looming in your head - 'Alien'.
The reference to the alien universe is so endless, that it will take someone completely unfamiliar with it to not notice.
The script, despite being smart, is loose in certain ways. For example, when humans first encounter the new planet and discover tell-tale signs of intelligent life, there's no real surprise on their countenance. It is as if like Scott, the audience have been here before too.
Or perhaps Scott was too busy diverting audience attention from the 'Alien' similarities of the film to pay attention to these small details in the script that would have made the film much more enjoyable.
Even for those unfamiliar to 'Alien', it is a predictable film. It plays with the known cliches of the genre, while trying to go beyond in its visual spectacle. The little philosophical tirade about the origins of humanity, is also a little uncalled for.
What redeems the film are its brilliant effects and the cast. Filmmaking technology has advanced so much in the last three decades since Scott made the first film, that it gives him a rare chance to better visual spectacle by a great margin.
Secondly, the cast is impeccable. Michael Fassbender as the cyborg does a perfect job. Though you miss Sigourney Weaver, in Noomi Rapace you have a perfect, fiery candidate.
Scott makes her survive more treacherous ordeals than he made Weaver go through. The attempt, even here, is to outdo the original.
Thus, "Prometheus" does not disappoint you. But it does not satisfy your attention completely either.
In trying to find the origin of man, Scott smartly finds the origin of aliens. Humans in the franchise have always been greedy to harness the alien as a weapon. Turns out someone already outdid us.
In that sense, the alien is like a metaphor for everything that is bad and greedy in us and our insane desire to play with fire to destroy those like us.
"Prometheus" is one of the smartest ways to reboot an old franchise. Not only do you keep the elements that made the first such a success, but you introduce new ones while keeping the audience in the dark about its connection to the old.
In that respect, this is a masterstroke by Ridley Scott.